About this blog

I was diagnosed with breast cancer on June 11, 2010. As a result of my treatment, I have lymphedema in my left arm. I draw my strength from the Lord, as well as my family's Scots-Irish heritage. Our Graham's were a tough and scrappy bunch of fighters on the Scottish/English border. They came to America and continued to fight when necessary: in the American Revolution; the Civil War; and my brother is a Captain in the U.S. Army. My ancestors settled this country against all odds. My great-grandmothers on both sides of the family were pioneer women who settled the West. Along with that heritage, and the full armor of God, I am walking the walk and fighting the good fight.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Back to School...Chemotherapy class

No one can really describe or prepare you for how it feels when you are in labor. I suspect it may be the same way for chemotherapy. Although Kaiser certainly did their best with me this morning. I attended a chemotherapy class. There were 3 other cancer patients. I was the youngest.

They gave me a goody bag with more freebies. One was a cancer cookbook. That's cool. From everything I've read, good nutrition is key. Luckily, I've been eating organic, whole foods for the past several months on Jillian Michaels Master Your Metabolism program. I don't think that part should be a problem for me.

The first part of the class consisted of a powerpoint with slides describing common side effects. I knew most of it
already. It was good to know that many of the side effects can be treated so they don't get worse. Of course, the fatigue and hair loss are pretty much a given. They encourage physical activity, which is good. One of the big bummers of this whole thing is that I don't want to get totally out of shape. I've worked so hard over the past year to get fit! The second part of the class was a tour of the "chemotherapy suite." If you've got to do chemo, this is probably as nice as you could have it. Each chair has TVs. They encourage you to bring a friend to pass the time. Heated blankets, a fridge where you can keep your own lunch or help yourself to what they have inside. It was good to get a mental picture of where this will be taking place. (That is, unless I choose to participate in the clinical trial down at Zion). A chemo treatment can take several hours. You are able to walk around if you need to, which is nice to know you aren't trapped to an IV line. You just take the IV with you. You can bring a laptop, but they don't have WiFi. Big bummer...AT&T coverage is pretty much non-existent, unless you are by a window. So no texting while getting chemo. :-(

The two nurses who did the class work in the chemo area. They were very nice. I suspect they get to know the patients pretty well. As I was leaving, I chatted with one for a few minutes. It looks like a round of chemo consists of having my blood drawn the day before the treatment, then chemo. Then an appointment with the oncologist before the next one so they can monitor my blood cell counts and other side effects. I told the nurse the name of my doctor, Dr. P. She asked me what I thought of him with a strange look on her face. I told her that he seemed to know his stuff, that he reminded me of some of the scientists that I'd met through Eric. Apparently, he is big into research. When other doctors get sick, she said they go to him. If he's the choice of other doctors, that should be a good sign, right?

I did like the feel of the chemo suite and the two nurses I met today. It makes me lean toward staying local and sticking with the traditional treatment. I've got time to decide.

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